I don’t like Greg Olsen.
Well, that’s not true, I’m sure he’s a lovely person, he may even be a gas at dinner parties, but I don’t actually like his art. It’s not my taste. It doesn’t speak to me (in fact, if I’m telling you the most honest thoughts of my heart, sometimes it makes me roll my eyes.) Why? Because my favorite artists are the Abstract Expressionists: Pollack, Kandinsky, Rothko, they’re the artists that speak to my soul. They make my heart flip, and flop, and tears come to my eyes. Representational art has a harder time crossing my emotional barriers.
Maybe tears come to your eyes when you see a Monet. Maybe tears come to your eyes when you see a Friberg. Maybe Greg Olsen connects to you on a viseral level that I’ll never understand. And you know, that’s cool; that’s the great thing about art, you don’t have to like what I like, and I don’t have to like what you do.
I didn’t grow up in a house that displayed traditional LDS artwork. When it came to religious art, my parents were partial to Fra Angelico’s Annunciation and the Renaissance era painters (displayed along side prints of Klimt, the Pre-Raphaelites, Piscasso, and Renoir.) We had a single photograph taken by a family friend of the Salt Lake Temple on display.
Finding religious art that I want to put in my home has been a harder challenge for me. I want to display artwork that pricks my heart or uplifts my soul every time I see it. My sister, a talented photographer, gave me a Provo Temple print that is gorgeous: taken in the winter, every tree is crusted in ice, the mountains behind are glowing blue, and the temple in the middle, rising like the cloud it was meant to be. I recently bought Happy Little Artist’s print of the Salt Lake Temple you see above at a craft show because I loved the feelings I had when I saw the blue and white colors with the strong black lines.
I’d really like to find the names of more artists that are producing religious art. Do you know any? Among my current favorites are J. Kirk Richards (who has a show happening in St. George right now,) and Darren K. Breen, whose Nigel is one of my favorite enduring angels.
Has it been easy for you to find religious art to bring into your home? Which artists are your favorites? Do you display a photograph of your favorite temple and are satisfied? Do you have a portrait of the First Presidency that graces your hallway?
How do you decide if a piece of art is important enough to share with your family and friends?
How do you decide what you put on your walls?